Battling Postnatal Depression: Why I’ve Joined The ‘Sad Ladies Club’

Scared To Talk About Post-Natal Depression? Here's How It Can Help

plain jane

by Contributor |
Published on

This year will be my baby’s first Christmas. On 25 December he will be two days shy of 11 months old, and eager for 
his first opportunity to leap spread-eagled onto the Christmas tree and find a nice dangerous string of lights to gnaw on. ‘It’s going to be hilarious!’ my friends keep telling me. ‘I bet you can’t wait!’

The truth is I can wait. As much as I’m looking forward to Christmas, I have postnatal depression and, on bad days, even the washing-up can overwhelm me. The news that a third
 of new mothers suffering in the same way are too scared to seek help, for fear of letting
 loved ones down, is never more pertinent than at this time of year. The very thought of festive logistics – socialising, liqueur chocolates, LBDs, giftwrap, food prep, hangovers and
the obligatory festive baby-wrangling in a hot shopping centre – just make me want to go to bed. Then get up, fetch the liqueur chocolates, and go back to bed again.

Instead of bed, though, I’m going to the Sad Ladies’ Club. Sad Ladies’ Club is what I call
 a local weekly crafts group I go to for women with postnatal depression (it’s actually called Craft Attack and is run by a local mental health charity; my GP and health visitor referred me). If you have visions of orange jumpsuits and bleak-eyed basket-weaving right about now, don’t worry – so did I at first.

But Sad Ladies’ Club is great. First, you lovingly dump your baby in a crèche, then a very nice woman hands you the first of unlimited cups of tea and encourages you to plunder
 the enormous box of chocolates on the table.

Then, for two hours you run wild with glitter glue, staple guns, and many, many sequins, making Christmas cards, giant acrylic letters that say ‘love’ or ‘home’ (or, because I’m not really a ‘love’ or ‘home’ sort of person, ‘vole’ and ‘ho’), and découpaged stocking fillers – for no other reason than to make them.

Sure, you want to create something perfect at first – but soon the colours, the textures, and the exactitude of the guillotine quieten your mind. For two hours a week, the clamour of parenthood, the terror of depression and the looming threat of Christmas go away. You are yourself again.

And it doesn’t even matter that I’m rubbish at crafting. My Christmas cards are all over the place. My attempts at découpage look a bit like a two-year-old made them. And my memo boards are all wonky (sorry, all female people 
I know: you’re getting those for Christmas).

Sad Ladies’ Club has been incredibly healing. As a direct result I’ve organised therapy for myself, a part-time nanny and a cleaner to help me feel less overwhelmed. And, best of all, I’m starting to look forward to Christmas. I have a beautiful Christmas wreath I made at SLC, I’m not in bed and my baby’s not chewing on the fairy lights. Things are on the up.

Words by Robyn Wilder

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